Should Germany be Hoovering up all of Adolf Hitler’s art…for the state?
Yes, there’s a market in them anyway. Supply and demand is driven by the curious, the prurient, people who like notorious talking points on their walls. Fourteen of Hitler’s paintings were auctioned in Nuremberg last month for $446,000.
They were bought by people as far away as China and Brazil.
Leonid Bershidsky, a Berlin-based writer whose Bloomberg View contributions are always thoughtful and thought-provoking, suggests that Germany should do something about this pretty sharpish, perhaps with a “national project” to acquire all of the Fuhrer’s art.
Last month’s buyers clearly weren’t riveted by the subject or the style so much as knowledge of who the artist was. Mr Bershidsky writes: “I wouldn’t be surprised if these afficionados decorated their walls with Nazi banners and showed their guests around collections of World War II-era guns and uniforms. They are not the right owners for Hitler’s art.”
This is absolutely true. The price of these paintings will inevitably rise (for reasons that have nothing to do with artistic merit) and the German government should make it a priority to get the paintings out of private hands and create a narrative exhibition that would encompass Hitler’s original preoccupations and how they evolved into a Europe-wide project that still sears our collective memory.